Sting picked up the Icon Award at the BMI Awards in London last night.
The former Police singer performed solo acoustic versions of three songs – two Police classics, Message In A Bottle and Every Breath You Take, plus new song Heading South On The Great North Road, which will appear on new album, 57th & 9th, due for release November 11.
BMI CEO Mike O’Neill hailed Sting as “truly a creative force, a brilliant songwriter, an artist” as he handed over the award. Sting responded by calling it “a fabulous honour”.
“It’s a little premature,” he quipped, “But I’m extremely grateful. I want to say something controversial though; the greatest compliment you can pay a songwriter is not this. One of the greatest compliments you can receive is when a member of the public comes up to you and says, I fell in love to one of your songs or, We played one of your songs at our wedding or, When we brought our first kid home from the hospital, your song was on the radio or, When we buried Uncle Charlie, we played one of your songs at his funeral.
“These things have been said to me often enough to me over the years that I realise that is the real reward for your efforts. Somehow your real job as a songwriter is to provide the soundtrack to people’s emotional lives, touchstones for their emotional landscapes, their memories – and that’s an unexpected and unanticipated honour, as well as a privilege. Of course, I’d be lying if I said that’s why I started writing songs. Like any of us, I just wanted the glory.
“But that dream to become a songwriter started many years ago. As a kid, I dreamt I would write songs, that I would sing those songs all over the world to millions of people, that I would be famous, that I would be paid extravagant amounts of money and win prestigious awards like this one, Grammys and Academy Award nominations, million selling albums. Well, I must have dreamt it pretty hard because, in fact, here I am, it happened for me.”
Every Breath You Take also won a BMI Award for receiving 13 million plays on US radio. Other winners on the night included Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud, which took the Song Of The Year gong.?